FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Andrew McCutchen was more than glad to share Thursday.
McCutchen doubled and scored three times, and the Pittsburgh Pirates used 10-run barrage in the first inning to batter the Minnesota Twins 17-6.
Garrett Jones and Alex Presley each homered, doubled and singled. The Pirates finished with 19 hits, 10 for extra bases.
“We brought the lumber today. That was pretty much it,” McCutchen said. “We swung it. That’s about all that went into it. People start hitting, and next thing you know, it’s just a domino effect.”
Matt Hague homered and had three hits for the Pirates. Jones drove in four runs.
“I think a lot of guys have matured as hitters and learned from last year, made improvements and adjustments to make us better,” Jones said. “We have the talent to hit well and to be a great team. It’s just a matter of putting it all together and doing it during the games.”
The numbers were more than encouraging for a lineup expected to start a handful of players with fewer than three years of major league experience. The Pirates ranked in the bottom three in the NL in runs and slugging percentage last year.
Pittsburgh came into the game fourth in batting average among NL clubs this spring.
“Our offense, we needed to get some things done in more consistent fashion,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “That was our weakest link last year. It all comes down to better ownership of bats, better maintenance of bats, two-strike hits, putting more balls in play and we’ve been able to do that this spring, so we have some optimism moving forward.”
Twins starter Terry Doyle, who split last year between Double-A and Class A, allowed eight runs and seven hits while getting only two outs.
Doyle, a long shot to break into the Twins’ rotation, is also vying for a bullpen spot. A Rule 5 draft pick from the White Sox in December, he has given up 10 runs and 15 hits through less than six innings this spring.
“I just couldn’t locate a fastball,” Doyle said. “I’m not sure what it was, but I was trying to throw out and throwing in, and trying to throw in and throwing out. I left things up in the zone, and a bunch of bad stuff happened.”
Minnesota outfielder Denard Span had two hits, scored twice, drove in a run and stole a base. He kept up his strong play this spring after missing much of last year with concussion and migraine symptoms.
TWIN TIPS: Joe Mauer added a single and two RBIs for the Twins. ... Jo-Jo Reyes got the start for Pittsburgh, giving up five hits, three walks and three earned runs in 2 1/3 innings.